For the more than 400 million people living with rare diseases, the journey towards diagnosis is often long and complex. Even when a rare disease has been identified, treatment options are scarce—over 95% of rare diseases have no approved treatments. Meanwhile, people also need support while living with the symptoms of rare diseases and the possibility of disease progression.
Technology can be a powerful tool for optimizing the well-being of people living with rare diseases. Educational tools can help patients better understand their diagnosis, and peer support networks can address the isolation that can accompany such knowledge. Using technology can support clinical decision-making to serve patients more effectively for health care providers.
The Horizon Prize, powered by MIT Solve, seeks technology-based solutions that improve the quality of life of people who have been diagnosed with a rare disease. To that end, the Prize seeks solutions that:
- Optimize holistic care for people with rare diseases—including physical, mental, social, and legal support;
- Support daily care management for patients and/or their caregivers;
- Mitigate barriers to accessing medical care after diagnosis which disproportionately affects disinvested communities and historically underrepresented identity groups;
- Enhance coordination of care and strengthen data sharing between health care professionals, specialty services, and patients;
- Empower patients with quality information about their conditions to fight the stigma associated with rare diseases; and
- Promote community and connection among rare disease patients and their advocates.
Prize and eligibility
- $150,000 in prize funding is available for up to two solution teams selected for the Horizon Prize: 2022.
- Finalists will be invited to pitch their solutions to a panel of distinguished judges in September 2022.
- The Horizon Prize encourages and actively seeks solutions led by people with rare diseases and underrepresented groups and identities.
Judges evaluate submitted solutions using the following criteria. Judges assign a numerical score for each criterion from which an average score for each solution is calculated. Each criterion has equal weight.
After solutions have been evaluated, a ranked list of solutions is then created for further consideration by the Judges.
Judges deliberate twice: once to select finalists and again to select winners.
- Alignment: The solution uses technology to address the Challenge.
- Potential for Impact: The planned solution implementation has the potential to impact the intended population.
- Feasibility: The team has a realistic, practical plan for implementing the solution, and it is feasible in the given context.
- Innovative Approach: The solution includes new technology, a new application of technology, a new business model, or a new process for solving the Challenge.
- Inclusive Human-Centered Design: The solution is designed with and for underserved communities, and the solution team demonstrates proximity to the community and embodies and addresses diversity, equity, and inclusion through their solution.
- Scalability: The solution has a plan for financial viability and the potential to be scaled to affect more people’s lives.
- Partnership Potential: The applicant clearly explains how the solution would benefit from the broad range of resources that the global health community is positioned to provide.